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BIOGRAPHY OF MAJOR THOMPSON MAXWELL

BY KEY. E. H. PILCHER

But these persons at Boston had refused to do so; and three vessels had already come into the harbor laden with this commodity. The people, encouraged by Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and other prominent men, were resolute in their purpose that the tea should not be landed. One ship owner by the name of Retch, had promised that he would take his tea back to England, but he dallied along for some days, and finally said he could not get a clearance for his ship. On the last day of grace, the people were assembled to the number of about seven thousand, not knowing exactly what to do; and the excited assembly continued together till after dark. This was on Thursday, the 16th day of December, 1773, just one hundred years ago. John Hancock had organized a body of men, who in the disguise of Indians were to board the ships and destroy the tea. The matter was understood between him and Samuel Adams, probably. There is no public record of the fact that this thing . was arranged by Mr. Hancock, for it was a profound secret; but Major Maxwell stated that it was so, and that he was one of the men selected by Mr. Hancock for that purpose. The scene is thus described by Mr. Bancroft in his history of the United States, edition of 1872, vol. 6, pp. 48G-7: o "It had been dark for more than an hour. The church in which they met was dimly lighted; when at a quarter before six, Retch appeared, and satisfied the people by stating that the government had refused him a pass, because his ship was not properly cleared. As soon as he had finished his report, Samuel Adams arose and gave the word: 'This meeting can do nothing more to save the country. '

Michigan


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